6 February 2018

Welfare crisis payments cover rent-to-buy plans

WELFARE recipients are turning to taxpayers for emergency cash because rent-to-buy schemes are taking up to 35 per cent of their payments, consumer groups warn.
In a statement, the Department of Human Services said that it would introduce changes once the Turnbull Government passed legislation
– laws it promised last year.

Consumer and law groups will meet with new Assistant Minister Michael Sukkar, now responsible for payday lending and rent-to-buy reforms, today. They met with Labor and the crossbench yesterday in their bid to demand action.

The Human Services Department has refused to reveal how many welfare recipients have requested extra cash – known as crisis payments – because they cannot live on their welfare payment after they pay leases for consumer goods such as fridges and television.

Labor’s consumer affairs spokesman Tim Hammond said some families were having to turn to crisis payments.
Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive officer Gerard Brody, who will meet with Mr Sukkar today, agreed.
“Vulnerable mums and dads have to resort to additional crisis payments in order to survive,” he said.

RENEE VIELLARIS

 

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